June 9, 2013

You DEFINITELY Know That You Are a Teacher...

...when the last day of school was Friday and you're already working on next year's materials on Sunday... so much for those who complain that teachers only work nine months out of a year!

The sixers I have arriving in August are familiar to me. I worked with them in fifth grade as their Language Arts teacher. It was then that I discovered what a WIDE range of abilities are represented in their class of ONLY 14. One student is working at an emergent reader level while another is able to read/write at a post-high school level. The others are spread out at all levels in between.

Since they are a small enough class in number, I sought the advice of a colleague (who is the grandparent of one of the students and a reading intervention specialist) about how best to handle this group with the intent of doing some individualization. I wanted to do something to help meet the needs of each student, but I also had to watch the time involved so I didn't shirk my other classes. She suggested beginning with Spelling since this area supports word recognition, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension.

My colleague introduced me to Words Their Way by Templeton, Bear, Invernizzi, and Johnston and Word Journeys by Kathy Ganske. It was a QUICK study and off we launched. I barely kept ahead of the kiddos and I know I didn't do things RIGHT (by the books) but progress was made, no one was struggling anymore, and my top kiddo was being challenged. I was happy... for a while, at least until the end of the school year.

Now I'm spending time really reading and studying the premise behind the individualized program, the how-to, the preferred activities, etc. during my summer break (really, a break?). I brought the spelling folders I had for each student home with me to organize and update in preparation for next year, and I'm also working on some printables that contain practice activities that are appropriate for any of the levels, among them this Spelling Tic Tac Toe, a FREEBIE for anyone who would like it.

Do any of you use an individualized Spelling program? What materials do you use? How do you implement it? What benefits do you experience? Drawbacks? I would appreciate any and all feedback and advice as I continue onward with this.

Happy Summer,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

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  1. LOL! I've been working and reading new material all day long! Worse than that, I spent money on new materials today to work and read with! :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

    1. Real teachers NEVER take time off... LOL! My family and friends are always razzing me about this. I've got a workshop Monday morning that takes me to a "big" city where there is a Teacher's Store. Guess who is going shopping after the workshop?

      Have a great week, Brandee!

  2. I'd love to hear more about the lessons you learned and how you made it work for each of your students without pulling your hair out. I love hearing how others keep the organization and management of such individualization/differentiation so they keep their sanity while making it happen ;)

  3. Every day this week I've been working on stuff for my classroom. When does the vacation part of summer begin?

    1. For me, Mandi, the vacation part is not having to answer to an alarm clock. I "work" all summer, just at my own pace. I hope you manage to find that "vacation" time. Thanks for stopping by!


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